Banks reported better-than-expected earnings on Thursday, driving shares for Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo up by more than 1 percent in early trading. Bank of America gained 2 percent.
Shares of UnitedHealth Group rose about 6 percent on after the health care giant reported that its revenue for the third quarter climbed by 11 percent from the same period last year. Shares for Walgreens Boots Alliance dropped more than 3 percent after announcing in its virtual investor conference that it will invest $5.2 billion into its partner company VillageMD to boost its rollout of health care services and clinics.
European stock indexes were higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 jumping by more than 1 percent. Asian markets closed mixed.